• Adolescents' experiences of the right to play and leisure in Northern Ireland

      Beckett, Helen (Taylor & Francis, 2010-07)
      Under Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, every child under the age of 18 has the right to engage in age-appropriate play and leisure activities. Drawing on the qualitative findings of a wider review of children's rights in Northern Ireland, this article examines the degree to which adolescents in Northern Ireland are currently able to enjoy this right. The data presented in the article are primarily based on the views of young people, as expressed in focus group discussions with their peers, although this is at times contextualised by the contributions of adult participants and the findings of an in-depth policy and literature review. The article argues that young people's right to play and leisure is not currently adequately recognised within Northern Ireland, noting the impact of the increasing demonisation and marginalisation of youth upon both this and their accompanying right to protection. The article concludes with a consideration of the potential implications of the current failure to afford young people adequate and appropriate play and leisure opportunities, calling on the State party to urgently deliver on the commitments it made in ratifying the Convention.